How to Develop an Effective Product Strategy

A product starts as an idea or a vision. But not all brilliant ideas transform into brilliant products. To convert an abstract vision into a concrete product, one that fulfills its business objectives, requires a precise product strategy. 

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“Product Strategy” can be defined as a product’s journey from the sketch board to the market. A journey needs to have a destination. This can be equated to the user experience a product envisions to give to its users. It needs to have a route. This can be the processes, protocols, and resources that go into a product’s development.  

Why is Product Strategy Essential?

Can you reach your destination efficiently if you don’t know where you are headed? Or which route to take? Or what obstacles you might encounter on your way? The answer is an emphatic NO. You will most likely get distracted en route, or get lost in the crowd, or reach your target too late or too tired. 

Similarly, a product needs to know its end goal and its end users so that it can be termed as a “business success”. There is no dearth of products that were made with great intent but without great knowledge of the market and users. Consequently, they fail to generate desired revenue and are a deplorable waste of time, resources, and manpower.

An astute product strategy gives direction to the product team. It outlines the intent of every step of the manufacturing process. By eliminating guesswork, product strategy gives a scientific algorithm that facilitates strategic decision making. Not based on assumptions but hard facts, product strategy tenets will make your product a profitable investment. 

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Source: https://www.myproductroadmap.com/collections/product-strategy-templates 
How to Craft a Winning Product Strategy

People buy products. No. Let me tweak that a bit. People buy products they NEED. If you want more people to buy your product, it makes sense to examine the needs of your users. The more your product aligns with users’ needs, the wider are its chances of success.

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

But the first question that you need to sort is: who are your users? Let’s delve into this right away.

Step #1: Identify Your Users

In a competitive market scenario such as ours, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Your product needs to hit the bullseye in the first go. There is no room for ambiguity.

Create really accurate user personas for all segments of your user base. The more specific you get, the better will be your understanding of their mindset. 

Indulge in market research to examine new users. Send mail surveys to existing users. Ask questions, feedback, and personal experiences from your customers to derive their aspirations.How-to-Develop-an-Effective-Product-Strategy_3 Source: https://www.researchrockstar.com/can-you-name-8-market-research-methods/

Step #2: Identify Their Problems

Once you have a few well-defined user personas, get inside their minds. Learn how they think and what they want. What challenges do they face and what expectations do they have from a product?

Read more: Is Your Product Really Solving a problem

Understand this: Customers don’t want the same old product, packaged differently. The millennial customers especially are discerning and aware. They research products online and offline before reaching for their pocketbooks. Ensure you astutely understand customer aspirations so that you can create a product that is tailor-made to fulfill their needs.

Step #3: Identify the “Sweet Spot”

You know your users. You know their expectations. You know what the competitors are offering. You also know your monetary objectives and constraints. The next milestone is to find a balance between what users want and what you can give them (within budget and time constraints). The common area between user expectations, competitor offerings, and your deliverables is called the “Sweet Spot”. 

Bear in mind: You can’t promise the moon and stars to customers and deliver rocks. But you can’t burn a hole in your pocket trying to cater to user demands which are non-feasible to your business. 

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Source: https://idea-sandbox.com/blog/strategic-sweet-spot/#axzz62Ui2OtEU

Align corporate goals with market demands. Then, include product features that can fulfill both these variables. What you will get is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a working product model with all essential features. The embellishments can come later, as budget and market reach expands.

Step #4: Watertight Your Development Processes

Now we come to operations. Convey your product vision to the entire development team. Don’t silo them. Encourage open communication between designers, developers, and marketers. Conjunction between thinking of all the teams is necessary for the timely, smooth delivery of your product.

Agile development methodology can work wonders in an evolving market such as ours. Integrate continuous development, delivery, testing, and improvement into your processes. Have time-bound, iterative development sprints. Keep clearing backlog from previous sprints whilst working on new requirements. 

Conduct usability testing on real users and observe their interaction with your product closely. Note the bottlenecks they are facing. Improve upon them in the next iteration. Keep improving and keep delivering.

Read more: Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Step #5: Track Your Progress

Don’t get complacent after an initial spurt of activity. Have Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and build metrics to monitor how well your strategy caters to each area. 

Use tools such as CRMs to get first-hand information on your customers’ satisfaction levels. You can leverage agile tenets to integrate user feedback into the development process. Re-align your strategy accordingly.

To Wrap Up

Product strategy is the link between a hazy product vision and a well-defined development roadmap. It bridges the gaps between these two. Products based on an intuitive product strategy are able to make good ROI, capture markets effectively, and get a strategic advantage over competitor products.

Product strategy proves to be a game-changer in the long run. All successful products have a clear cut product strategy as their foundation. Invest in crafting a product strategy so that you don’t have to reinvest in overhauling your entire development later.

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Team iView Labs

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